Researching various company’s Employee Volunteer Programs (EVPs), I’ve noticed a distinct rise in the use of EVPs as an element of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). Dozens of news feeds pop up on my screen each day on the topic. Every once in awhile, the content of an article really stands out. Today was just such a day, so I thought I’d share…
Perry Garfinkel (New York Times, Aug 23)) titled his article: A Hotel’s Secret, Treat Guests Like Guests. It’s actually not a great title….the interview with Alan J. Fuerstman, the chief executive of Montage Hotels and Resorts, does cover customer relations, he talks a lot more about the relationships between employees and the management.
The article is definitely worth reading, but I’ll give you the gist. At the Montage, they invest significantly in their employees, viewing their happiness and development as a vital key to guest satisfaction. Nothing new there, right? The difference is that most of us work (or have worked) in environments where employee “happiness and development” are not exactly a priority. Most businesses do not treat their employees well. Civility is the standard; not development.
Marcus Buckingham’s book, ‘First Break All The Rules’ cites more than 25 years of data collected by Gallup that clearly outlines the essential and unassailable logic to investing in your employees in order to make money in your business. For example, when Fuerstman is questioned about really being able to teach grace and humility he responds enthusiastically ‘Not only do we teach it, but we also reinforce and reward it. The teaching starts with modeling. We show staff the kind of kindness, support and respect we hope they show guests.’
Montage’s Employee Volunteer Program is set up to support an overall climate of health. Fuerstman states, ‘We have a volunteer program called Hearts of Montage, actually founded and led by employees, open to all staff members, their family and friends. They organize quarterly beach cleanups; blood, food and clothing drives; and holiday Adopt-a-Family programs, as well as participate in charity races and walks. Hundreds of employee volunteers become ambassadors of our culture out in the community. This makes them feel good about themselves, good about where they work – and the community feels good about us, too.’
A great EVP works hand in hand with a respectful work environment that values employee needs and development. This again is a good example of Points of Convergence: the horizon of meaning for the employer, the work and the employee.
Love to hear your thoughts on what makes you feel like your employer values you.
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